Despite finishing seventh at the FIBA World Cup earlier this month the United States are still ranked No. 1 in the world, and while that may be shocking to some, FIBA’s ranking system basically ensures that the chances of America being dethroned are unlikely.
The FIBA ranking system accounts for the last eight years of results, which means those gold medal finishes at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games as well as the first place title at the 2014 World Cup mean significantly more than this seventh place finish. Here’s a look at the current top 10 (for the complete rankings, click here):
- Team USA (–)
- Spain (–)
- Australia (+8)
- Argentina (+1)
- France (-2)
- Serbia (-2)
- Greece (+1)
- Lithuania (-2)
- Russia (+1)
- Czech Republic (+14)
It would take consecutive years of poor play for the U.S. to see any real drop in the rankings, and given thatto competing in the 2020 Olympics, that doesn’t look like it will happen in the near future.
While the men are still in the driver’s seat heading into the 2020 Games, the margin for error is even slimmer with Spain — the World Cup champions — now just 54.9 points behind the United States. That might seem like nothing to sweat over, but compare that to the 310-point lead the U.S. women’s team has over Spain, and it shows that the men can’t just send anyone into international play and expect an easy first-place finish.
With USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangeloabout the number of players who pulled out prior to the World Cup, and vowing to right the ship for the 2020 Olympics, all eyes will be on how the U.S. team fills out the rest of its roster in their pursuit of capturing a fourth-straight gold medal at the Olympics next summer.